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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Justice? Not if defendants can't engage fully with the trial

30 June 2012, John Podmore

Justice? Not if defendants can't engage fully with the trial
The criminal justice system isn't doing enough to support those who struggle to communicate fluently or follow the court process
And we should not forget the many foreign nationals we prosecute. Brits abroad tend to get a sympathetic press when struggling in foreign judicial systems but the sympathy is not replicated at home, as translation services are contracted out and increasingly difficult to access.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Shortage of Polish interpreters?

"He was remanded in custody over the weekend until a Polish interpreter could be found, then on Monday he was given a £150 fine…"

"Judge Mallon adjourned the 19-year-old’s case to enable a Polish interpreter to attend."

"…when he appeared before the court on June 21 with the assistance of a telephone link to a Polish interpreter."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Suffolk & North Essex Law Society Newsletter

There is much coverage in the media of delays and/or postponements caused by failures by translation contractor Applied Language Solutions. There is talk of up to fifty cases a day being aborted. What is our local experience? Please could SNELS criminal practitioners advise your PRO/PLO of any recent examples."

Source: Page 5, Suffolk & North Essex Law Society Newsletter, June 2012.

Friday, 15 June 2012

No Lithuanian interpreter available

June 15, 2012
The case had to be adjourned until the following day as no Lithuanian interpreter was available. On June 8, after an overnight remand, they were back before the court, this time with the assistance of an interpreter.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

CPS delays rollout of ALS interpreters

14 June 2012 by Catherine Baksi

CPS delays rollout of ALS interpreters
The Crown Prosecution Service has delayed its rollout of the Ministry of Justice framework agreement for the provision of interpreters and translators, the Gazette has learned.
The CPS was due to sign up fully to the agreement on 1 June.
The MoJ brokered the framework agreement last August under which now Capita-owned Applied Language Solutions would provide interpretation and translation services across the criminal justice system.
Under the agreement, interpreters are provided at fixed rates through a single route. Criminal justice agencies have been able to sign up to the agreement since January when a contract began for the provision of interpreters at courts and tribunals across England and Wales. The courtroom service has been the subject of widespread complaints.
The CPS signed up to the framework agreement on 1 February and piloted face-to-face interpreter services in its Lancashire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and West Midlands witness care units.
The CPS was due to extend the arrangement nationally on 1 June, but a spokesman said that date was ‘always going to be subject to review’ and that, while feedback from reviews of the pilots had been ‘positive’, more time is needed. ‘We decided, in conjunction with Applied, that more time was needed to complete the tests while Applied is focusing on improving the service it provides in the areas where it is already operating.’
The CPS said changes need to be made to the online booking system to take into account the range of locations, other e-invoicing systems and to ensure usability by caseworkers and finance staff. He said: ‘We are working with Applied to ensure it will be able to move to national rollout as soon as practicable.’

Monday, 11 June 2012

Company to carry out investigation after interpreter fails to turn up at court

Company to carry out investigation after interpreter fails to turn up at court
An investigation is being carried out by the company at the centre of a nationwide outcry over its failure to provide interpreters after a Bradford Crown Court robbery trial was abandoned because a translator failed to turn up.
But after a spokesman for Applied Language Solutions (ALS) had pledged to find out what went wrong, the contractor sent along a Czech interpreter for the Slovakian defendant the day after the jury was discharged.
On Thursday, the judge in the trial of Stanislav Jano aborted the trial and relisted it on August 29 after his interpreter did not turn up for the second day.
A Czech interpreter arrived after 2pm, but Recorder Christopher Storey QC and the trial barristers agreed it was “contrary to the interests of justice” to continue. On Friday, ALS sent another Czech translator for the case.
He was then employed by the court to interpret for a co-accused Slovakian man who pleaded guilty in January and must now wait until after the trial to be sentenced.
An ALS spokesman, told the trial had been scuppered by lack of an interpreter, told the Telegraph & Argus: “We have been made aware of a Bradford case involving the non-supply of a Slovak interpreter for the second day of a trial and are investigating the court’s concerns as a matter of urgency.”
Yunus Valli, barrister for Jano, told the judge there had been similar difficulties with interpreters not turning up for cases at Bradford and Leeds Crown Courts.
Local judges had raised concerns about ALS and he believed there was “a channel of communication to the Lord Chancellor’s Department on this subject.”
Mr Valli said another trial at Bradford Crown Court had found itself without an interpreter on Thursday morning.
Recorder Storey said ALS must “furnish an explanation”. The question of a costs order would be raised when the Jano trial started afresh.
Meanwhile, campaign group Interpreters For Justice claims ALS failed to meet 3,833 requests for translators during the first three months of its Ministry of Justice contract.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Contractor provides only 1 interpreter for 4 Lithuanian defendants causing court delay

7 June 2012
The defendants spoke only to confirm their name during today’s hearing, which was delayed by nearly an hour because only one Lithuanian interpreter arrived at court.
Judge Patrick Maloney told the defendants: “Today I remand you into custody.
“You can discuss with your lawyers about whether to seek bail in the future.
“You will come back to this court on August 30, when you will be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty.
“Before that time you will be asked to provide a written statement of your defence.
“The trial will take place in October.”
Judge Maloney also ordered that three interpreters are present at the next hearing, which is scheduled to take place on August 30.